Top Weight Loss StepsJuly 1, 2010
(Article first published as Essential Weight Loss Steps on Technorati.)
A new report from the Trust for America’s Health makes it painfully clear that the obesity epidemic has gotten much worse over the past year, threatening the lives of millions. The problem is the result of too much junk food and fast food consumed in excessive quantities and at the wrong time of day. Compounding the problem is the lack of regular physical activity to spur the fat burning cycle.
Our body has evolved over countless generations to run efficiently on the type of diet and eating patterns as our caveman ancestors. Specific hormones in the body known as ghrelin and leptin control our appetite, and how and where fat is stored and burned. For most people, the perfect hormonal balance has been disrupted, resulting in the obesity problem we face today. To achieve permanent weight loss, it’s necessary to follow a plan which restores natural hormonal balance, and proper fat metabolism.
Step 1: Cut Portion Size at Each Meal
We’ve heard it all before, but the fact is most people eat nearly twice the number of calories they require each day. Americans are addicted to foods which have been scientifically modified in a lab to appeal directly to our sense of taste, forcing the consumption of more calories than we can accommodate at a given meal. Eat three well balanced meals a day, and limit the portion size. Unless you are an extremely active man, limit each meal to no more than 600 calories; women should target 400 to 500 calories, depending on daily activity level.
Step 2: Cut the Sugar and Refined Carbs
The American Heart Association has declared that our nation is on a sugar binge, and is the main reason that one-third of adults now fall into the obese category. Sugar, and it’s derivative cousin, refined carbs (breads, pasta, pastries and most snack foods), cause blood sugar levels to spike quickly and then drop. This rapid surge cycle is not normal, and ultimately leads to metabolic disorders such as diabetes and high triglycerides (fats) in the blood. The body is unable to clear excessive amounts from the blood before the next meal, and stores the excess as fat. Eliminating sugar-laden foods and wheat products from your diet will have an immediate effect, allowing the body to release stored fat as metabolism returns to normal.
Step 3: Stop Eating After Dinner
The body is a very efficient, well coordinated machine, completing certain required functions at different times of the day. Sleep allows the body to perform many maintenance duties at the cellular level, and 7 to 9 hours each night are essential to reduce our risk of serious disease. Digestion is a very complex process which must be completed well before retiring, or the necessary sleep routine cycle will be disturbed. Be sure to allow at least 3 hours between your last meal and going to bed. Your body will be properly prepared for the repair tasks at hand, and you’ll get a more refreshed night’s rest.
Step 4: Never Miss Breakfast
Successful weight loss begins with a good breakfast. As the name implies, it’s important to properly break the evening’s fast, and this is done with a good source of protein. Avoid the donuts, breads and cereals, as these will convert to sugar quickly and you’ll want to snack before lunch. Fats and especially protein are difficult for the body to metabolize, so they’re the perfect food to rev up your diet for the day. Skipping breakfast to save the calories always backfires, as you’ll eat much more later in the day to compensate.
Follow these steps and eat from a wide variety of healthy food groups to achieve weight loss success. Add in a regular, moderate exercise program to sustain the fat burning mechanism and you’ll be in sync with your genetically evolved hormones. It’s possible to regain our health and reverse the current obesity epidemic by resolving our addiction to junk foods and developing improved lifestyle habits.